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Centers unite for cancer treatment


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POSTED: Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Cancer Center of Hawaii has merged with Leeward Radiation Oncology to offer radiation oncology cancer treatment at two Oahu sites.

The center is a joint venture of Hawaii Pacific Health Partners, St. Francis Healthcare Enterprises and PRO Associates, a physician group specializing in radiation oncology treatment for cancer patients.

The Cancer Center of Hawaii Liliha is located at the Weinberg Medical Office Pavilion on the grounds of Hawaii Medical Center East. The Cancer Center of Hawaii Leeward is on the HMC-West campus at 91-2135 Fort Weaver Road.

Dr. Virginia Pressler, chairwoman of the Cancer Center of Hawaii, said the merger combines the strengths of each partner and provides cost-savings “;with one management team over two sites, and improvements in quality, safety, purchasing and staff flexibility.”;

Unique services of the centers “;include a Big Bore CT scanner developed specifically for cancer patients and a course of breast cancer therapy that shortens treatment time by two to three weeks,”; she said. The new therapy involves a Prone Breast Board designed to treat patients face down with radiation instead of lying on their backs.

Radiation oncologist John Lederer, who treats patients at the Queen's Medical Center and the cancer center, pushed for the Prone Breast Board and has had patients from all over the state using it, Pressler said.

When patients lie on their backs, the breast spreads out over the chest wall, which exposes the heart and lungs to radiation, she said. Lying face down with the breast board, the breast hangs away from the chest wall so tissue can be radiated with less impact on the internal organs, she said.

Pressler said the Cancer Center of Hawaii is one of only two radiation oncology treatment centers in the state offering advanced treatments such as high dose brachytherapy and permanent seed implants of the prostate.

The center is working closely with the University of Hawaii and its Cancer Research Center, she said. “;Theirs is the research piece; this is the provider piece.”;